The Department of Natural Resources again this spring will collect eggs from Great Lakes muskellunge in the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair to be raised at its Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery in Mattawan, Mich.

The practice of collecting Great Lakes muskellunge eggs, instead of northern muskellunge eggs, began in 2011 in an effort to raise a type of muskellunge that is native to more of Michigan’s waters. In 2012, 1.1 million eggs were collected from the Detroit River and produced more than 28,000 fall fingerlings for 18 inland lakes in Michigan, two of which will serve as broodstock lakes for egg collections in the future. An additional 3,200 4-inch fish were transferred to Wisconsin, destined for Green Bay, through a cooperative interstate arrangement.

To collect the eggs, trap nets are used in Anchor Bay in Lake St. Clair during late April and May and fish are captured with electro-fishing gear in the Detroit River in May. Collecting Great Lakes muskellunge eggs is difficult in these areas because of the physical conditions associated with open waters, especially during the designated time of year. If weather or other conditions limit the success of collecting Great Lakes muskellunge eggs, northern muskies will be requested from other states.

As a safety issue and a precaution, boats on the water should avoid coming close to the electro-fishing boat during nighttime efforts.

“When the generator is running and the boat’s lights are on we are collecting fish using electricity near the boat,” said Todd Somers, fisheries technician supervisor for the Lake Erie Management Unit.

Logo courtesy Michigan Department of Natural Resources

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